Holistic Therapies for Canine Hip Dysplasia

Many remedies are available to help treat a dog's symptoms by reducing swelling and minimizing pain.

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Senior dogTherapy #1: Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture and its near cousin acupressure are recognized by the AVMA as valid and integral modalities of treatment for animals. Acupuncture has been practiced in China for thousands of years. It is based on the theory that the bodys motivating energy, or qi (pronounced chee), is a balance of the opposites yin (passive) and yang (stimulating). If the balance is off, the flow of energy is disturbed with the result of disharmony and ill health. Qi is also thought to be concentrated in channels, called meridians, in the bodys tissues.

It is these meridians that an acupuncturist seeks with his or her delicate needles. (In acupressure, the same meridians are sought, but instead of needles, the tools used are the practitioners thumbs.) Western science has determined that these meridian points, or acupuncture/acupressure points, are actually microtubules located beneath the skin that contain nerves and blood vessels, according to Allen M. Schoen, D.V.M., M.S. In his book Love, Miracles, and Animal Healing, Schoen explains that when a needle is inserted into a meridian, it stimulates a sensory nerve ending, which promotes healing and/or relieves pain by releasing endorphins (the feel-good proteins) and adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), which is a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. The stimulation of meridians has also been attributed to enhancing the immune system and relaxing or contracting muscles.

In the case of hip dysplasia, acupuncture and acupressure can work on several levels. Regular treatments can relieve pain and help reduce the swelling in the joint. Acupuncture may also help stimulate the immune system to function more efficiently. The treatments may help move a good blood supply to the area, which is needed to nourish and heal the ailing joints.

Acupuncture and acupressure are considered capable tools for damage control in dysplastic dogs and may be a regular part of a dogs treatment plan. To be successful, acupuncture and acupressure require skilled hands, so be sure that your practitioner has been licensed by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society and has good references.

Next step: Chiropractic Care

Reprinted from The Essential Guide to Natural Pet Care for Dogs: Hip Dysplasia © 1999. Permission granted by BowTie Press.

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